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tv   Tonight From Washington  CSPAN  December 14, 2012 8:00pm-11:00pm EST

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>> at the country, our best years are still ahead of us. mr. president for my will and my remarks today where our country began a long time ago. with the dream and a pair that god will continue to bless the united states of america. >> tomorrow night, watch the farewell speech by republican senator dick lugar and democratic representative lynn woolsey of california. we will also show you a tribute in the u.s. house to outgoing caliber and california members
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of cameras.. join us at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. later a look at the dodd-frank law and regulations. >> this is c-span3 with politics and public affairs programming throughout the week. and every weekend, 40 hours a people and events ,-com,-com ma telling the american story on american history tv. get schedules in the past programs our website. you can join in the conversation on social media sites. >> tomorrow a draft constitution by mohammed morsi. it would expand his constitutional powers. supporters and opponents of
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president mohammed morsi. next, we'll talk about developments in the country and security throughout the region with an expert on the muslim brotherhood and a former israeli ambassador to egypt. this is an hour and a half. >> looking at the political competition with the egyptian and the egyptian society, what is likely to be the outcome, not just of the referendum, but the next step in the next several steps in this ongoing saga of the egyptian political transition. looking more deeply inside the muslim brotherhood, looking at this in the regional perspective in terms of egypt and israel in the aftermath of the gaza conflict, which may seem like it was light light-years ago, but it was only three weeks ago. so with that, let me briefly introduce our panelists. first, steve cook, a senior
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fellow for middle eastern studies of at the council on foreign relations. i take great pride in mentioning that when he was much younger, steve was a research fellow here at the research institute and we are very proud of him and his professional countless men's from that period up until today. very happy to have you back at the podium. he can second will be eric trager. he is the washington institute's next generation fellow. he is a doctoral candidate at the university of pennsylvania where he completed a dissertation and he is going to give us some special insight into some of the details of mohammed morsi and the muslim brotherhood in the quest to achieve a constitution. and then we have third, i am pleased to introduce a diplomat
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of the area. he served in egypt for 2005 through 2010. shalom cohen. he has considerable it's aryans with the relationship and the politics we are seeing on the ground today. first we have steve and eric and then shalom cohen, and then we will open up the discussion for your questions and comments. >> good afternoon. it is a tremendous ledger to be back at the washington institute.
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i feel a a little nervous, i feel like i'm performing for my first grade teacher again. but it is a great pleasure. this is where, as rob pointed out, my career began. also, those of you who know me, this is where my family began. i am sure that many of you in washington can relate to what is going on in the middle east, rob is a pretty good matchmaker. back in 1995 and 1996, i married one of the research associates that was there during the same year as me as well. we have been happy ever since then. i think it was five or six couples and define the outcome and not have resulted in divorce. you did an excellent job. [laughter]
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>> anyway, for those reasons, since the beginning of my career, i am forever in debt to rob and his organization. it is also wonderful to have been awarded this terrific gold-medal. the recognition from the institute of my work is truly an honor. i would like to thank rob and mr. martin kramer did a great job demonstrating the lord. before i get into this, i would like to recognize eric trager. he is a fellow penn graduate. it is nice to see someone else from penn in this town doing this kind of work and doing it in a cutting edge and great way. i also want to recognize ambassador cohen, who had the hardest job from israel. as a testament to his character. it is interesting to me that
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when rob contacted me about doing this, he wanted to call the session egypt on the brink. not only does this have the benefit of being true yet again, but it is a particularly apt description of what we are likely to see in egypt for the foreseeable future. not only is it what we see with the future, but perfectly consistent with egypt's modern political history. in the central drama and egypt's history. it could digress a little bit in the struggle. because i think they reflect well on what is likely to happen. it is clear that what we are seeing now at this moment is a reflection of the fact that no party, not the muslim brotherhood were not the liberals and not revolutionaries, not anybody we see out there.
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that is part of a faction that you know is in there. egyptian is meant for social justice represented in government. his demands had been perfectly consistent going back to the early part of the 20th century. no one has been able to answer these questions. they have never been able to answer the essential questions about what kind of principles of government, organizations of government, the relationships are critical between these countries for global egypt's trajectory be? both domestic and foreign policy. despite everything that has been done, we have not been able to answer these questions with the vast majority of egyptians.
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the problem in egypt, a lot of people say, oh, the problem is november 22, president morsi cannot and he issued these degrees. the way in which he went about it, the way in which they thought to enforce it was depressingly similar to hosni mubarak. all of these kind of things look exactly like what had come before. but it is not just about that in which this is. it is not just about mohammed morrissey and hosni mubarak. now, it's a struggle over this constitution. the brotherhood comment given the circumstances, they are going to to achieve a consistent consensus on that.
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the posters of hosni mubarak and mohammed morsi -- i don't think it completely captures the wave of the muslim brotherhood views the world. they see themselves as a vanguard to know the depth of this country. we back in the summer, i spent some time out of cairo with members of the freedom justice party. looking back, you can see it was clearly coming. if we could just clear way the underbrush and get rid of parts of the bureaucracy at the time the staff was still in this form, if we could just get rid of this, we would be able to transform this country virtually overnight. that is precisely what they tried to do on november 22. they thought that they were being revolutionary.
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they were wrong because something had happened in egypt. that is egyptians are not going to take these kinds of these creeps any longer. this worldview that we are vanguard and the we -- it is not -- it is not any longer tolerable to many egyptians. this seems like a non-controversial point. but if you would suggest something along these lines. after all, there was a narrative that the brotherhood is clearly a force with democratization and change in progressive politics.
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if people actually looked at the data, what they were doing -- that we were going to come -- come to this moment. the brotherhood has been unable to impose its political will in way and the way they thought it would be able to. we are coming to this deeply profound and contested referendum. we were having a little discussion before. i'm going to go with yes, i think that based on the referendum of march 2011, parliamentary elections, presidential elections, i think that the brotherhood is ultimately going to carry this day in this referendum. but it doesn't mean they would be able to advance their referendum.
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so we may see the situation de-escalate for a time as the brotherhood claims a mandate, if in fact they win. i think you have taken note. it will be confronted by periodic spasms of instability and demonstration. the content of this constitution is such that combining with a genuine grassroots opposition movement, you're likely to see is the brotherhood seeks to implement this program, continuation of what we have been seeing over the course of the last few weeks, which is
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going to make egypt the very place to govern. a difficult place for the united states to engage. overall, i think what you're going to see his we are going to enter a new stage in which the revolutionaries -- we are all going to continue to oppose the brotherhood. but the real thing will be what you're going to see here, the brotherhood on the constitution. not that there isn't as crossover, with all three of them, but that is where the political dynamite is going to be. the only way to establish
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political control -- egyptians have demonstrated that they are not going to lie down and take this anymore. who is going to do the muslim brotherhood -- who is going to pit one group against the other? i don't think the military has a real interest in getting involved until there is a serious threat to social cohesion. if you look at the constitution, in november 2011, it has been incorporated into this. on august 12, when mohammed morsi talked, it was to guarantee the new commander.
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there is a wave of violence that threatens egypt. the ministry can play any way that it would like. this is where the continuing instability comes from. what should washington do and what can i do? there are lots of ideas that have been talked about in the last 10 or 15 years. about what to do about egypt in general. deeply invalid or about all these things. it is clear we have strategic
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interests. who is to say going forward egypt will remain as strategically important. the consequences of an egyptian crash is far greater than anything we are seeing right now. but we seem to be stuck in the syndrome of aid and hope, even so, i don't think there is much that the united states can do. i think having a is not going to make much of a difference.
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last weekend, two weekends ago, egyptians and writing their own history. there is a particularly apt way of putting it. anything we do on the front is likely to be counterproductive. but i don't think that means we should sacrifice our principles. during the uprising, in may 2011, the administration said -- they said they were the right side of this thing. would people who want more open and democratic societies. when president morsi and the muslim brotherhood proceeded
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with a clearly antidemocratic agenda, recognizing all these other tools that we think we have. we really don't have. but we do have those principles that have guided us here and make us feel all warm and fuzzy. those people want to live in more open and democratic societies. it is incumbent upon us now. i will leave the. a few months. i am looking forward to the q&a. we will be linked to eric to explain to us about the muslim brotherhood. thank you. [applause]
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i think it is worth pointing out that the night before the revolution started in 2011, we all have coffee together at maria café. i had tea. it is just a warning that when the three of us are in the room, things get pretty interesting so what does the current episode tells about the muslim brotherhood and the way the brotherhood works. i am actually going to give you a spoiler. first, we have learned that right now it may seem very obvious. it is important to remember that
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this current crisis did not start, as rob said, about the constitution. that started about with horses constitutional declarations for which he sees as unchecked executive power. the brotherhood had used it, as a mechanism for pushing forward the constitution. that is not as kind of political ploy. that is something that has been important for very long time. secondly, they coordinate their activities with president mohammed morsi. i laid out an organizational chart in the previous form that showed overlap between the muslim brotherhood in central leadership in the party, and the mohammed morsi presidency. at the time, my theory was these guys were coordinating with each other. but that is in fact happening. and we have learned and should learn and take note of this, president morsi is not a compromiser and i will explain what i mean by that.
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personally, i want to take you back to this whole point about the muslim brotherhood warning in constitution. president morsi 22,010, this is what he said. >> [inaudible] [inaudible] [inaudible]
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>> okay, so it's very important to focus in on a certain aspect of this. the constitution is not only a mechanism to implement this without sharia, but a mechanism for freedom. it is important to realize that it is the freedom to do whatever you want religiously. for the brotherhood, it is the freedom to have an islamic state. an environment in which there is not an islamic state engines against their freedom. we have to be free but having been on the constitution. this kind of hits on what steve was saying, the constitution
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should represent the peoples well. the brotherhood believes that egyptians are religious. there is a groundswell for an islamic state. i won't comment on whether they are right or wrong. we don't have fantastic data on what exactly egyptians. this is propelling a lot of what they do to believe that this is what egyptians want in the constitution that implements this principle. this goes back historically. in 1938, the brotherhood founder focused on the constitution and he viewed it as maintaining personal freedom in every way, which again, it's all within this islamic framework. he talked about limits on the rules authority, and also spoke of the constitution as a mechanism for implementing the teaching of islam. the system and rules in the form of governance. this is not just some interesting fact that i'm racing. this is something that the top
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leader mentioned on facebook the other day. this push for the constitution is very much part of the long-term agenda. so they talk in the product about the state should be a constitutional nation, not a military state. they viewed the constitution is not only implementing sharia principles, but something there is a groundswell for. okay, so not just about implementing islamic principles, which the brotherhood has frankly never really defined since they have been focused on pursuing power than on any kind of specific ideological project. it is also about legitimating the brotherhood and their governance program. legitimating their claims of power. the brotherhood is a
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majoritarian organization. the key slogan for the brotherhood during this push for the constitution has been out of sharia. they are to be different kinds of sharia. one of which is legitimacy, the type of political legitimacy. and the sharia islamic law. despite the fact they could win a referendum, there could be a couple of reasons why they might not. it won't convince the masses. the constitution is not supposed to be a 15 plus one documentary that is supposed to be probably confront a world in which the winners and losers -- without
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those incentives, the losers could try to continue politics through other means. it is why we think even the pass referendum wouldn't solve this instability. the brother heard, of course, they won't care. the organizer of the public would reject it as well. lastly, the brotherhood and mohammed morsi. before i get to that, this is something that we saw in president morsi's lyrical biography. from 2005, a member of parliament and the chairman of the muslim brotherhood parliamentary bloc. what has come out this past week is a lot of interesting details. when mohammed morsi was in
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parliament, they say that he would pocket it and then not sign off on on the topic until he talks to the other moslem brotherhood. going to the current situation in which he is president, have been saying that they are our personnel overlaps is an president morsi's presidential advisers -- two weeks ago i was on the air with a brotherhood leader, and he actually told me that i was right. >> the relationship between one of the main and major groups that supported him in his presidential office's virtue appointed advisers. it is an institution or to members of the justice party, which are also members of this as well. >> let me just explain that. basically, the presidential
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palace in the advisory team has about 60 members. there has been a lot of attrition during this crisis. it may well be down somewhere through seven and 10. we don't exactly know. of course, we have 20 members. the overlaps is these two figures. this man was in washington week and half ago, meeting at the white house, and this is the top policy adviser. and this gentleman who is a behind-the-scenes player. how has this coordination work? >> well, the appointment of governors and state media, this is a fact that came out this week as former presidential advisers were taking mohammed morsi out of office.
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they were both students in the united states and were both recruited through the brotherhood's network here. and a former brotherhood office number, again, the brotherhood that mohammed morsi appointed, for a five muslim brothers in the governorship, it started for a long process that was coordinated, we know for a fact, with the brotherhood's permission. also, mohammed morsi runs policies every word. the most important thing is the brotherhood organization. there is one thing that you have to understand about the muslim brotherhood, becoming a muslim brother is not like checking out a box at the dmv.
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it is a fiber eight-year process involving multiple staging of membership, and the whole purpose of this process is to get muslim brothers to their commitment to the cause and commitment to the muslim brotherhood. you do not solidify for different types of levels. these are those who service with soldiers with a structure that i am about layout. it is advised by the committee, which has about 125 members, the legislative body of the muslim brotherhood. this committee will discuss and vote on decisions that are executed by this office, down determined structure with multiple memberships, the brotherhood command at local
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levels. for example, having organized this at the local levels, and actually had a hard time getting a number of bus drivers, especially in upper egypt. they were concerned that they were getting attacked by anti-morsi protesters. 130 pounds of food and other means of this. on december 4, you had a new round of anti-mohammed morsi protest. for the first time, they called for him to step down.
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he had the use of torture chambers, if you look at these videos, it is very clear that there are groups of muslim brothers running in a coordinated fashion at the anti-morsi protesters. how i draw this link? , kosher? on december 5, i was working to talk to people who are in that meeting. we were able to speak to three people who have been coordinating the response to the protests. however, of course, they said the anti-morsi protests are violent. i can tell you for a fact based on three different people, that meeting took place.
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the coordinated response, the anti-morsi for us. morsi is not about this. you have to understand who morsi was in the brotherhood. he was kind of this unknown player. when he was with the brotherhood enforced. that means that he played a key role. the hard-line ideology and tactics. there is a central division within the brotherhood between people. they want the brothers to be a social preaching organization and others who want the brotherhood to be a vanguard or political program as steve mentioned. it has really taken over the brotherhood's leadership since 2009 in particular. they have emerged since 2005 or so. morsi was the chief person and
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his job to weed out people, like mohammed habib. like the platform that more see is crafted. over time he we did these people out. you look at that and say, maybe he is a negotiator. in fact, the reason why the brotherhood chose them was because they trusted that he would tell the line in these very difficult discussions with the regime. the regime wanted to talk to mohammed morsi and they view him as an offense if representation of what they were doing without any given moment. finally, morsi believed that he
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had a victory. i didn't ask a mess. but the reason that i get back, frankly, the only interesting thing that came out of time magazine's interview was that he was the guidance of the leader during last year's revolution that was directing the movement into the square. he was the one telling people where to go and what to do. the brotherhood dominated demonstration and i know that there was always one person in those demonstrations speaking regularly and distributing memos, which i have seen two other bowler they understand the importance if you think you're going to win, if you have the capability to always win, you're not going
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to complete anything and you are not going to compromise. another thing is that morsi is a compromiser. this is a press conference. this is the press conference from june 22 of 2012. i was actually at this press conference. this took place two days before morsi was named the next president. this took place before the armed forces denied morsi a victory. what the brotherhood dead, they assembled a broad coalition of opposition figures to support mohammed morsi. needless to say, a lot of these people feel like they were sold out. most of these people were on the stage at the fairmont hotel has since emerged as major critics. an example is these guys.
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this gentleman is the leader of this movement, and he was on the stage during this event. i can tell you that i saw him there. he strongly believed that mohammed morsi was the key to the prime minister. he has now emerged as a critic mohammed morsi and the muslim brotherhood. and they accused him of leading dogs around the presidential palace. you will remember that he sat smiling next to [inaudible name] and they would find some way to work it out. morsi also brought on the kind of pro-muslim brotherhood christian in his market. these were compromisers, and
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they have all since abandoned him because they feel so bad. the question is whether we are next. the administration is not testing morsi for a couple of reasons. the first of which is the opposition is cohesive and any kind of way. the muslim brotherhood, no doubt, cohesive. secondly, obama and morsi have a good report. and that includes where they spoke a number of times and they seem to be on the same page. chemical reporting on this. the idea of the administration is that our relationship with him could be the best that we have. the personal, there is never an alternative to the ruling party,
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until there is an alternative. that should be the lesson of the arab spring. things are not really that stable. secondly, important to remember that what the brotherhood is doing right now is making a critical mass of the body that rejected. it is clearly countered by today's events in cairo, egypt. finally, there is the fact that morsi and the muslim brotherhood are more focused and willing to put forth the effort. that is how this book from washington. from the offices in cairo, first of all, he has entirely outsourced his israeli-palestinian relations.
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he let a victory be declared from downtown cairo. and also preventing weapons from gaza. the sunday "washington post", from the minute the campaign stop. so i would press the administration to think twice, but because morsi is putting a call now on foreign policy, he will always quick on, he simply neglects who he is, neglects how to push for things when he wants it. for that reason, it is important to try to push back on this now as best as we can. thank you for listening. [applause]
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>> i'm going to call up ambassador shalom cohen. [applause] >> [inaudible] thank you all for your kind words and for hosting me here at the institute for the last three months. you have given me an opportunity here in washington. moving forward in my talk, i am a member of the early foreign service. the beautiful chance to serve in tunisia and egypt the two
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countries of the arab spring. this leads to a better understanding of the institution on the ground, presenting some of my thoughts and offering some insight into the country of egypt in general. then i will focus on how this event affects israel. but before i start, let me show you during my time at the washington institute, -- [inaudible] i was concerned with what i called the freethinkers.
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we don't belong to any organization. this will be for a diplomat. i am cautioned to escape from this, but without success. it doesn't present any official view. to me, the arab spring did not begin to years ago in tunisia, as we commonly believed. but in fact, only two weeks ago in egypt. but what has happened in tunisia and egypt was actually a long journey. the popular uprising in the
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downfall of the regime in tunisia and egypt and libya. what we are starting to see in tunisia is a true political idea for the future and the character of the country. the process in egypt today has to do with the democracy of the country with those two countries struggling for dominance. in my opinion, this is the true expression of the arab spring. in 2010, our population overthrew the regime.
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and the support of the regime has been protected by the people. and the citizens have the freedom to express themselves here. this is a chance in the air of consciousness, and it seems to me that we have not fully yet come to terms for the future. in the arab world, there are two types of devices. those that have political lives in freedom and those who live in tyranny. what would be georgian or maybe even a mother great country.
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in my estimation, [inaudible] is early, too early to fully comprehend the muslim brotherhood as absorbing this transformation that has been placed. otherwise, how would you account for the conduct of the regime which has possibly resulted in taking steps in the process of the changing trading a political
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one for a religious one. [inaudible] this process would care for all citizens and improve their life. instead, the condition of the country by all measures. more unemployment, [inaudible] the regime is focused more on the organization of the country rather than dealing with the problem of the people. it is the transformation of it into a thriving republic. if the government had better understood the footsteps of political liberation of the
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societies, it would have since been different. it would have been understood as being the perfume of freedom and democracy. as we all know, the religious people are fighting the teachers of the constitution. if this does not begin to move quickly, after all, it is not a draconian position as presented by them. i believe this is against every new tyranny, the egyptian people
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are against any attempt to turn the wheel of progress. they are struggling for preserving their newfound freedom. any leadership, religious or secular -- those underestimated positions in egypt. finally, the importance of this and egypt. more than 60% of the population, most of the country is under 30 years old. it is a beautiful young generation dedicated to the modern devices and the key to be part of the freedom and
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democracy of life. social groups, new political parties, and for all, in my view, it is important to empower people so they can succeed in changing the fate of their land. as ever before, it will be more accessible. so what are israel is doing in regard to this? we have two or three principles that guide our policies. first, israel will follow the policy of the politics. we have seen from making any public statement in the
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international view. also, we exercise the importance of making an impact on change. we take this position publicly and privately. fortunately, relationships between israel and egypt have not really suffered due to the change of regime. the dialogue involves the foreign ministry spread the defense ministries, and the intelligence services, continuing to operate. important issues on both sides, such as border security, counterterrorism, even some economy programs, and continues to be part of the dialogue. unfortunately, it is part of the highest view of the government.
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even inviting them for lunch at the cost. [inaudible] regarding bilateral issues and the israeli palestinian politics. [inaudible] therefore, israel has to continue to be vigilant to ensure that any egyptian regime we think is pragmatic and we fully support, in regards to the
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two countries. thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you. we put a lot on the table in the last hour. i'd just like to make sure that we put a little bit more out there. one issue that still has not come up is the issue of the economy. for example, while all of the events of the last week have transpired, they have so far gone and commented upon. the faith that president morsi gave him beginning to implement some of the requirements for an imf loan. new taxes that were then lifted and the delay of an imf loan, and perhaps the coolness that the imf now has egypt, raising the prospects that in fact, egyptian economic situation will
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fall off the fiscal cliffwhich makes us look like a flat and easy stroll in the park. so that is one issue. connecting the political turmoil, economic two-mile as well. secondly, i would like to address more specifically what is really the problem? isn't the process by which these constitutions were made? or the actual content of the constitution? what are people so upset about? what should they've legitimately be upset about? when the referendum is completed, and i know that steve went out on a limb saying that it would be approved, what will be the aftershock about the process or the content or both? i would like to also put on the
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table about why did morsi push now. if he had held to even his first constitutional declaration. by february, this constitution would've been approved. there wouldn't be this rush for a referendum. he wouldn't have the crowds in the street. why push now for a speedy approval? before we close, we do have to once again return to the question of the united states. to what extent was our validation of morsi on november 21? including "new york times" article which talks about him solving problems. to what extent, if any, was this at least interpreted by morsi as a green light? of international approval whenever he decides to do domestically.
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and what lessons should we draw from that experience. economics, content and process -- and the united states and president morsi. let's start with you, mr. cook. >> okay. please come to the podium. >> okay. it seems to me first if you read the constitution, it is clear that the brotherhood, in keeping with its traditions, economic liberty. banning sequestration of property. naturalization, private property is sacred. one would think that given these ideas that implementing an imf program would be relatively un- pragmatic for the brotherhood. after all, this is a moment of national empowerment and
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dignity. there is a relatively small but vocal minority as opposed to the imf would rather do that than submit to the easiest of easy programs in the imf. morsi is pulling back from them. at this critical moment, even for morsi, it is a way of demonstrating once again that morsi is different from those menubar. in fact there is still a live narrative and egypt that the liberal economic reform, the imf pushed on hosni mubarak, with the support of these people -- the macroeconomics tell a different story. i think that morsi's current plan is a reflection that at this critical moment, he is in need of demonstrating difference between him and those in iraq.
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i find it hard to believe that egypt, as important as it is, not as important as it once was, that anyone can really allow these people to do this. i think that they are willing to look at how if there is money to be had for them. clearly, the process to start with the degree of november 22, the same thing with this constitution. the constitution has been subject to so much. now, the effort to ram it through this very quick shotgun referendum, the regime says this will observe and the problem is
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both. it is the effort put this into the previous era. why now? it's funny. to me, they have just been itching to do this for a long time. those conversations that i had, when i was in egypt over the summer, it was good to me that they were looking for opportunities to do it. in sequence, they found it in sinai in august. they found the opportunity to weigh with the upper echelon of the military and security system. ..
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so it seemed to me that once again there is a tremendous opportunity. but this is something they've been looking forward to doing for quite some time. [inaudible] >> they agree with a lot of what steve said. one of which on the timing may be that this signals the scent had something to do with that. you know, the praise that morsi
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has been a cease-fire in the somali morning recess this declaration a catalyst to crisis were still talking about in dealing with. i take a look at policy in the middle east are primarily by domestic factors and it's important to know that morsi and the muslim brotherhood expected that the muslim brotherhood dominated what was at risk to be disbanded by a court order. what is so interesting to me about how they cope with this is that actually so the keys because of the way the referendum is handled. because a lot of judges refuse to supervise this referendum, the brotherhood on consecutive saturdays would have enough judges to distribute to enough polling places. the problem with that is under the law the constitution has to be ratified by referendum within 15 days and when you add another
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week of voting it extends the period illegally. so we could be here again in a month but this'll referendum having in a legalized once again by the process. there was a domestic sphere, domestic consideration the court would disband the assembly, the primary reason for the decree in the first place. second thing is i don't see the brotherhood is totally economically liberal. there's a real mix between pro-business, cutting the red tape types of language, that all says saville socialistic language that a big state, guaranteed health care, all these types of things. that tension also exists in the constitution, which they long document in part because of how many rules against the state. if the brotherhood were to consolidate his power is going to cretul struggles because on
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one hand you have reality of an organization provided social services for decades and bases its legitimacy on ability to provide the people on the other hand of wealthy businessmen on its leadership would like to see a tear down state. so that tension will remain even beyond this crisis. [inaudible] >> will open the floor for your question. >> i will mainly focus on the question right now, which to me seems the most important. it seems to me it came from two main reasons. two ideas. the first one is in politics usually we say what you don't do in the first two months in politics as a leader you will not do after that. so maybe this is the idea of the brotherhood and morsi within his
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regime to try to impose the new set of ideas on the population as soon as they can. they started almost from the beginning and still trying very hard even nowadays. and the other recent rate now is in my view that are just this phenomenon at doing the other or imposing, inflicting the other what they worry that the amount in their positions, which means for me and i mention this in my talk that there is a new generation. this hoopla now in force in the literacy, they lived through the mubarak regime. the system of demaret regime,
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the manipulation of the regime. but the new generation, the youngsters, the ones who really know the meaning of democracy are not there with them. so they are trying to act in the same way, but they don't understand the game is over. you cannot choose the same anymore. this is an ip domain mistake. otherwise it could take much more time to relax and see the future and to not truly understand the nature society. >> let's open the floor for your questions. let's go first in the way back. yes, eric and i worked my way around. >> eric holt stein from human
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rights watch. when islamists won the election in 1991, there is a debate over whether to halt those elections on one side with the arguments of what they call a productive regression. let them come to power, let the people see they can't govern and not be thrown out. the opposite scenario is the ukrainian scenario. to what extent do you see what's happening now, as scary as it is on the brink of some kind of necessary process to egypt needs to go through after 30 years of the leadership to go to the other side. from your presentation, one gets the impression that the muslim brotherhood is not just disciplined, but also in monolith. in the protests and so forth, there was a lot about the younger generation of the muslim brotherhood and diversification across the landscape including among islamists in today's "new
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york times" talks about a neighborhood in cairo one would assume is a muslim brotherhood stronghold for more people are not only hostile to the government, but they studied the constitution. so we push back in different places including the muslim brotherhood candidate for president. so to what extent is diversification reason to hope there really will be a push back in the brotherhood won't build on poses of? >> eric, why don't you take a stab at is the muslim brotherhood monolith and whoever wants to talk about come is this current crisis and essential stage at egypt's political development? >> sure. the islamists in general are clearly not a monolith and it's definitely not my claim. you are correct and i mention in my talk that there is this distinction within the brotherhood between preachers, not judges, people ought less of a politicized role in murphy
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preaching social outreach will. on the other hand, the courts of this for crude and a strong vanguard, putting off ideological debates and pushing forward with a power-hungry agenda. what i'm saying is at this moment the brotherhood leadership is very much in that school. if you understand what it takes to be a muslim brother and the indoctrination weeding out process, they have a series of reliable for soldiers who will pursue their agenda and follow their command. in fact, they've taken enough to do so. as for the young muslim brothers into rear square lasher somewhat reported disagreements, remember these are people pushed out of the organization by morsi and marcel i'll shut so. the mnj show dude that's not there anymore, the images show deal of that press conference before morsi was named
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president, this young muslim brotherhood is still rallied. i walked up to one of them and i said i said not to do, what are you thinking? morsi kicked you out. and the responses this is a bitter pill to swallow, but it's too threatening for us. see you are right there was this kind of disagreement within the brotherhood pushed out in the brotherhood has it as an try to embody this image of itself as a vanguard. that's producing such consistency within the ranks of how it's responding to different crazies. >> i like the fact he mentioned iran because iran has haunted policymakers for 30 years and algeria has haunted policymakers
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for 20 some odd years. but to answer your question, i don't think this is inevitable. i have liberals have been in touch with since the beginning say we don't believe we can bring mercy down the hopefully we can teach them a lesson. it's a misreading of the wave the brotherhood sees the reader right now will likely see the political arena post-referendum. i don't think there's anything inevitable or necessary about this moment. the brotherhood, how they had a better understanding of politics by other means and what the revolution is truly about because they relate to it would see the wisdom in actually building consensus and understanding with the demands are in concerns are many, many egyptians, even those who stood on the stage with morsi last june. they do not see the world that way. they see it as a vanguard of
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knowing that they know what's best for the country and they can transform the country and that certain to section a freedom to hold. >> ms. barakat on my left. ideal mark >> my question is policy. should the united states have taken a clear stand or is it prudent for u.s. policy to support as they apparently have. i did not know that israel had the diplomatic mission in egypt. >> so you've got a scoop there about 10 years old. >> in terms of what the u.s. could have done, there is a number of opportunities within the crisis or it could have said something.
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for example, when judges pulled out of oversight come when international monitors had been sent, we could have raised some concerns about legitimacy of the process. we could've used a relationship that the president thinks he has with president morrissey to say the situation you're creating is very unstable. we could have made a statement about the purpose of constitutions and consensual documents for the rules of the game. are not supposed to be heavy and ideological content. that's a legislation is supposed to do. these are things we could've said. i have to also say, would it have mattered? that's the question. well, it depends. on one hand, brotherhood ac is a server and dedicated organization. i see them very well seen excuse me, your english is what they said to everyone a secular state, something the white house probably would not see.
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on the other hand, by not saying anything, the signal we send it via some sort of arrangement with the muslim brotherhood. i'm not one who believes we are pro-muslim brotherhood. i believe were trying to do as little as possible with the up ticks in cairo are very, very dangerous because there's now this broader population starting to mobilize against the brotherhood and firmly believes we are not only not with them, but actually with the brotherhood. the most dangerous example is the christian. the most pro-american community within each into her convinced that this administration is supporting the muslim brotherhood. we should be doing something to counteract the very bad piece of public diplomacy. >> i agree with what eric said. let me put a finer point on it.
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the fact that we have nothing to say on november 22nd or november 23rd about this constitutional decree has now set a narrative that once again we are treating stability for democracy, which is not a healthy thing because once again as i said in a presentation, it's not as are seen as benevolent actor. now it's reinforcing the idea these are words and morsi could keep gaza quiet you can virtually do anything in the political arena, which is unfortunate for us to contend with now after the uprising. >> can i just add 2 cents on this? i think my own view is the problem predates november 22nd and there's lots of analytical and give errors we've made over the last year and a half in dealing with the jet.
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i would say that i think we are much too quick to lower the bar on what constitutes statesmanship and what president morsi contributed to the gaza resolution. when you look much more closely in fact what about the various actors played, while significant was not nearly the level of statesmanship and farsightedness he was recognized with. i think that handcuffed us the day later. we're generally, president obama was right in january and february 2011 to increase the change underway and the united states deserves credit for praising what the president called this hopeful moment to
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open nature to the prospect of universal rights, then we have a responsibility to follow through and to say whether a general that hopeful moment is being pursued and whether we can still support because in fact that is really what much of this is about. the egyptians know whether or not they're going down a path and deserve to know whether they are going to bypass that america can still support and indeed, they deserve to know that sooner rather than later, rather than weak enough one morning and finding 535 people on capitol hill are going to say they are in a path that america cannot support. so i believe we should have been bolder. not to mention that we about this or that article, but older in her statements in terms of the process and content of this constitutional development.
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next question i have yet, hillary. >> hi, hillary kruger for ambassador cohen. he talked on the operational level things with egyptians and i wonder if you talk about a smuggling situation and security situation in finite and whether that's also a status it has been. secondly, whether you think there's reason to believe that will stay the same or there could be a trickle down from the leadership change in attitude to that operational level that she might also see the operational relationship with israel are working overtime, too. >> why don't we take a couple more questions as well. dave pollak on my left. >> thank you. i wanted to ask about a comment that steve cook made early on
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those sort of left hanging as i see it. what she said was when the dust settles, what we are likely to seize the political dynamism i think was her expression in egypt will be between the brotherhood and the fallacies. another was come within the islamist spectrum of politics. can you or anyone on the panel tell us a little bit about that? after all, these are the people who won 25% in the parliamentary election, who scarred street gangs apparently permitted by the new constitution to enforce public order and morals and i venture to say also that the younger generation, which several speakers have alluded to is not all events of liberals and democrats. there are millions of young ordinary thugs in egypt who are far from being in the spirit of
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career. >> yes, right here. in the center. >> jamie weinstein from the daily caller. you mentioned the muslim brotherhood has cadres, but maybe not police and the military. my question is, do we know to what extent is that all there has been any muslim brotherhood sympathy within the military company with the general bubble, but the kernel level that of another revolution would hope the muslim brotherhood install a dictator leadership? >> why do we take a moment and address these three questions. shalom, so the question that israel and gaza and border security and then we'll move onto solid faith in the army. >> yesterday, cooperation between the two countries and that large in sinai, cooperation on this smuggling of others
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since terry's son. as we understand the situation now, if seems that there is a real split between the political level in security and military level in egypt that are not really going together. it seems there's a real effort coming from the brotherhood and from the president closely to take the portfolio of israel regarding the cooperation the country has together to the intelligence services and security. in this regard, the relation between the two countries are continuing us before as i mentioned. i think the egyptian interest is at least for now and what we see in the future is to keep those relations intact because it is part of the interest. we don't want to deteriorate the relationship with israel over
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those questions when they understand the real interest in that. in the future, if the brotherhood will be in power and really will be more going after this question. i don't did so. i think there is an understanding that the peace process is one of the pillars of the stability of egypt, israel and the region at large. i think they'll keep it as it is. we saw over cause i recently got after all this regime behaves exactly as mubarak regime behaves in the same circumstances. i mean that mubarak would do probably some steps. one of them would be recalling the ambassador's. mubarak will try to moderate the
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flame between the two sides that could kind of go between the israelis and hamas. mubarak would contact the european countries to show them he's part of the game and is important and much more than that. you see a resemblance of steps. the only change that really appeared as for the first time, something mubarak did not do, to call and accept him as head of the hamas to the presidential palace, which was at the time of mubarak a new behavior. and now, he wanted to just push himself from the regime. the fact is part of hamas or the other of hamas. so the weather really except did
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the visit of the leader of the hamas and cairo at the highest level talks. so this is at-large but i have to say about it. i think we will continue to see between the political behavior which is not there anymore and the security and military behavior that will continue to exist. >> thank you. steve. >> thanks, dave. i know you're listening, but i didn't see when the dust settled, i think going forward you'll have this dynamic relationship between the brotherhood as well. the basis for that is both in the total as well as what is in the constitution and what has happened over the course of the last year or so.
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they say authorities must love him bureaucrats. we on every kiosk in all of egypt. we know the people. we have delivered social services. these are professional bushrod. they don't know anything. i think there is a certain amount of islamist recredit going on here that i think they want to one-out the brotherhood on. second, if you look at the content of the constitution where it addresses islam or sharia, there were vcs have a conflict between the south face and the brotherhood article to 19 over with the interpretation is. there's going to be this effort to say that is not in keeping with the understanding and it's going to drive this conflict between the two and above it all wanted to reestablish its
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prestige. the party seemed to shake trying to hit the sweet spot of egyptian politics. to the extent liberals continue to not get together, the revolutionaries are unable to transfer the great thomas and turn it to a political movement, that these groups along with the remnant of the old regime when it comes down to electoral politics will split despite this coalition. that is the story of egyptian politics historically but you will really find debates and contestation going on. very quickly when i was doing kind of systematic research on the military 10 years or so ago for my dissertation, i would ask this question at every opportunity and they would say to me, were on it, don't worry about it. if it's anything on top of its making sure there's no islamist in the military. they were on it and then there was a revolution.
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so who knows really what's going on. queen of egyptian military is a reflection of egyptian society. there are people who quite clearly sympathize with the muslim brotherhood. they sort of try to do with this by a discourse that included islam with islam's principles. the whole justification for taking part in operation desert shield, desert storm was a mission to protect the two holding places of saudi arabia. to the extent there's any data or any inkling of how many or could possibly happen. we don't know what has been going on at that lower level in the rain experience we know there was during that transition between mubarak and morsi a significant amount of unhappiness and they were funneling resources to keep people quiet so that there wouldn't be in the rate.
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[inaudible] >> it has historically been a strategy in the part of the muslim brotherhood. from the beginning they said we need the military in order to advance our political agenda. >> eric. >> i just want to echo what steve said. is that our constitution is an invitation to struggle among the different branches of government. this competition is an invitation to struggle among islamists in egypt about the definition of sharia, but the future of allah for what it means to state institutions for ensuring morality. i do think in the future one kind of thing to think about about this future brotherhood struggle ensues very different types of groups. the brotherhood is one organized regimented thing. salas says are divided among different groups. it will be really interesting to see if they do in the next
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parliamentary election that they did in the first, which is all organized underwent coalition. if they can do that they know who to vote for. but if they are divided as is possible when the cd emergence of the would-be presidential candidate putting together his own party, not pay money to the newer party. could be interesting to see whether they hold together. the second future would be about recruitment. as i said, brotherhood has this regimented site eight year process. you declare yourself and we'll talk some, which means you are committed to living the life of mohammed. will be more attractive than this regimented five to eight year process, just something to keep in mind. as for infiltration, the military is a black rocks. we see what comes out of it, not book a sinner comes out. i did meet in a summer research
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this one guy who is a muslim brother and formerly of the military. i'm not going to say exactly how i met him, but the point of the discussion is that rove is calling in general. i said why do they call you general? reinfected near me? said later in the muslim brotherhood? he said yes. how did you keep that a secret? they give us training on how to hide her affiliation while the military. as steve's dissertation advisor likes to say, the pearl of any code is data. so that is one anecdote. but if you find multiple of these, we be able to keep that a pattern, but we don't have that at the moment. >> just one closing thought. i think very very impressive bunch and bought eric and i were meeting with some of the leaders a couple months ago, there's no
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panel of young people. during a coffee break, one of them explains that he met his wife at harvard. so well educated, here in america at the finest universities and his wife, they met at harvard. that is something we can look forward to the harvard educated southeast party leadership coming in egypt. with that, please join me in thanking first ambassador shalom cohen, my colleagues eric trager and congratulating once again, steve cook. thank you off for joining us today. [applause] [inaudible conversations]
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>> as president obama begins his second term in office was the most important issue he should consider for 2013? >> subtilis appear in grades six to 12, make the message of the president. >> c-span student camp competition to win the grand prize of $5000. 50,000 in total prizes. for more information, go to student >> it's not safe on that bus. >> has been on that bus. >> they are just as good as gold. >> all of us in this country were seeing people coming out and talking about their
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experience of this phenomenon that so many of us have experienced in one way or the other and had no words for other than adolescents, other than growing up when finally people were starting to stand back and say, hold on, this isn't a normal part of growing up. this isn't a normal rate of passage. i think there was a moment where there was a possibility for change and director lee hirsch and i decided to start the film out of that feeling the voices for bubbling up, coming to the surface to say, this isn't something we can except anymore as part of our culture.
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>> max, homeland security and state department officials testify at a hearing looking into the abuse of refugee programs by terrorists. posted by a house homeland security subcommittee and chaired by congressman patrick meehan. this is just under an hour and a half. [inaudible conversations] >> subcommittee on counterterrorism and intelligence are to order. the subcommittee is meeting today to hear testimony regarding the exploitation of refugee programs by terrorists. i'd like to welcome everybody to today's hearings. i look forward to hearing from today's witnesses from the department of homeland security and the state department. i'd also like to take this opportunity to thank them for taking time to be with us here
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today. you're all dedicated public servants and we thank you for the hard work you do on a day-to-day basis. i know you've provided extensive briefings to my stats over the last year on the various security concerns related to the various feeds the refugee programs and i greatly appreciate your assistance on this important issue. from 2,422,007, the bloody sectarian insurgency in iraq produced substantial civilian displacement and emigration from the country. in response to this growing humanitarian crisis, congress passed legislation, which gave iraqis who held the government with the opportunity to receive refugee status and resettlement in the united states. while the motivation behind creating the special immigrant categories were well-intentioned , the fact remains that in may 2011, 2
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iraqi nationals who were given refugee status and resettled in the united states were arrested and accused by the fbi of plotting to send weapons and money to al qaeda in iraq. one of the men arrested had openly discussed his prior experience as an insurgent in iraq and the ied attacks he participated in against u.s. troops. the fingerprints of the other iraqi refugee who is charged by the fbi to a component of unexploded ied that was recovered by u.s. forces in northern iraq. in the wake of these arrests, dhs secretary janet napolitano and others have publicly knowledged security screens have been expanded to more than 58,000 iraqi refugees who have already been settled in the
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united states. according to press reports this february, intelligence indicates the threat posed by refugees with ties to al qaeda is much broader than previously believed. fbi director robert mueller stated last year during congressional testimony before the house intelligence committee that he continues to be concerned with quotes, individuals who have been resettled here in the united states that have some assist the haitian with al qaeda and iraq. there's also reports an immigration authorities have given the fbi with a 370 iraqi refugees for further investigation. but the emergence of al qaeda affiliates across north africa and the middle east, the influx ofa q. i. fighters into jordan, were jordanian intelligence officials have a large-scale terror plots in october and into
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syria, where the reports yesterday of chemical weapons being moved. i'm increasingly worried the terrorists may have programs by turkey, jordan or other countries where persons may fully to escape the bloodshed. it is imperative the interagency security screening process for all refugees be formidable incredible. the purpose of this hearing is to identify any remaining gaps in the security screening process they need to be remedied in to ensure that dhs and the state department had the necessary tools and resources at their disposal to deal to carry out the necessary security checks. it is concerning to me that either of the iraqi refugees arrested last year had worked for any u.s. military diplomatic or nongovernmental organization in iraq. get both receive refugee status based on humanitarian reasons.
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all this being said, i am glad that the agency security screening and adjudication process for refugees has undergone and continues to undergo a number of enhancements since it was initiated. in particular that's a call to attention to the enhanced intelligence and information sharing relationships that have been developed as well as the biographic checks done in collaboration with the national counterterrorism center dumbness interagency checks. i'm encouraged the security measures that required for all refugee applicants, ages 14 to 65 regardless of nationality. as we all know, the united states welcomes more refugees than any other country in the world. i think the us government policy of recycling refugees, especially those who risk their lives helping our soldiers and diplomats is important.
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my goal today is to highlight these issues to ensure security gaps are closed to prevent terrorists from infiltrating our refugee programs. moreover, i want to ensure lessons learned that break down or applied to future adjudication of refugees from other high-risk nations. again, i want to thank our witnesses for their hard work on this important issue in your being here today. the chair now recognizes the ranking minority member of the subcommittee, the gentlelady from california, ms. fonda, for any statement she may have. >> good morning. thank you for holding this very important hearing today as well as the committee for allowing me to serve today in this capacity. i also want to thank the panel for appearing before us in providing valuable expert testimony on these critical issues. every year the united states admits thousands of refugees
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through the united states refugee admissions program, a program authorized by congress to support and provide opportunity to those who live in fear of persecution. since 1975 the united states refugee admissions program has admitted over 3 million refugees. the united states recitals by refugees than all other countries combined. resettlement in the united states gets refugees the opportunity to share in america's promise and the ability to have life, liberty and the pursuit of their happiness. many refugee entrepreneurs have received help from the united states and the community organizations that assist and refugee resettlement. because of his support base and countless success stories of refugees that have come to america and given remarkable contributions to this country and their community. hence we can agree the refugee admissions program is beneficial in that it should be continued.
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however, vulnerabilities in the program have been exposed. in 2011 the department of justice issued indictments to ramadan, i want an two iraqi refugees living in kentucky plotting to provide material support to al qaeda in iraq. since the indictment was issued, both now want and hammadi seated guilty to all counts. the department of justice, specifically investigations of the joint terrorism task force should be pointed for efforts in thwarting potential terroristic dignity. unfortunately, the joint terrorism task force was not the first entity that had information on one of these convicted terrorists. in 2005, fingerprint was found on a roadside bomb in iraq. this information was then a department of defense database that was not schachter in his background investigation when he
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applied to the refugee admissions program. this illustrates we still have failed to close the remaining information sharing gap that continues to persist september 11 terrorist attack. i look forward to hearing today from the witnesses on how measures to close gaps in the refugee admission process are being put in place. in addition, separate and apart from refugee resettlement program, i'd like to hear what measures are put in place to ensure the special and the grant visa programs, a program for iraqis and afghans is free from vulnerability. we want to keep the united states as a safe haven for both those in need and those here by birth or through the naturalization process. one way to do that is to ensure that our government agencies are working together to collectively tame the school. thank you. i yield back.
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>> what they think ranking member on for her opening statement and other members of the committee i remind may be submitted before the record replace with three distinguished witnesses before us on the support topic. let me assure descent from left to right. from my last to write. mr. lawrence berkeley distractor of the office of refugee admissions at the u.s. department of state's bureau of population refugee and migration. he leads the state department program abroad and in the u.s. that identifies processes, places and receives more than 260,000 refugees in the united states over the last four years alone. previously, mr. bartlett told the state department leadership positions for refugees from afghanistan, iraq, kosovo and lebanon. a stripper that served as a peace corps country director in bulgaria and jordan and with a
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peace corps volunteer in the yemen arab republic. ms. barbara strack is chief of the division of department of homeland security citizenship and immigration services. distracts responsibilities include managing the refugee cores and headquarters staff to support the u.s. refugee admissions program by contract in overseas judy keeshan enter related policy training, quality assurance, intifada national security affairs. this track came to dhs with public and private sector experience, serving in the policy office of the former immigration and naturalization service and as a senate committee counsel among other positions. ms. dawn scalici is the deputy undersecretary for analysis in the office of intelligence and analysis at the department of
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homeland security. in this capacity, she leaves the office is analytic efforts with a special focus on advancing analysis and developing intelligence products to support dhs leadership and state on the local, tribal and private sector partners. prior to joining ths, ms. scalici served as production history check program at the cia's office of iraq analysis, where she oversaw current and strategic analysis in iraq and that efforts to advance planning, analytic trade craft and community collaboration. she earlier served as the deputy dirt permission management at the national counterterrorism center, helping oversee national intelligence related to the counterterrorism mission. ms. scalici is a 29 year veteran of the cia and for all witnesses who would be great appreciated if you would be aware that your
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testimony is important to us, but we try to work within the time parameters, so i know you will be guided otherwise having submitted written testimony as well. i now recognize mr. bartlett for his testimony. >> thank you. chairman meehan and other distinguished members, thank you for the opportunity to appear before a subcommittee and update you on steps were taken to increase security at the u.s. refugee admissions program. every year the u.s. admits tens of thousands of refugees as part of a humanitarian effort to reflect the high skies and aspirations of the american people in a program authorized by congress and historically has enjoyed bipartisan congressional support. since 1975, the united states refugee admissions program has welcomed over 3 million refugees to the united states. that is over 3 million people with a new chance at life, dignity, self-sufficiency everything a family in being
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part of our community. but the admission of each new refugee can we celebrate the rebirth of america's promise. for decades, american communities have opened their hearts, homes and neighborhoods to refugees around the world. our responsibilities to ensure they do so with continued confidence and security of the u.s. refugee admissions program for responsibility and state department shares of the department of homeland security. specifically the state department's population refugees and migration to settlement support center is the next preliminary overseas prescreening per u.s. admissions, collected pertinent biographic information necessary for numerous counselor law enforcement and intelligence reviews. the state department is responsible for checking a refugee applicants against the consular lookout and support system known as class, which comprises security information from the fbi's terrorist screening center and dhs as well
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as certain intelligence agencies. certain refugee applications are by the state department for security by surrey opinion. this check requests or law-enforcement and intelligence agencies share with the state department and the information they have been refugee applicants with hospital terrorism linkages. our partner at dhs and immigration services as well as dhs office of intelligence analysis will discuss their testimony the additional security and other counterterrorism checks that they undertake a partnership at the national counterterrorism center, defense department and others in the intelligence community and law enforcement. before dhs grants refugee status to an applicant in his or her qualifying members the state department strongly supports these efforts by dhs. this subcommittee's request for testimony included questions pertaining to congressionally mandated visa program, which
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facilitates admissions of u.s. government before nationals including iraqis and afghans to the united states. the sap program, sustained from the u.s. refugee admissions program is managed by the state department's consular affairs. but not in a position to address processing issues come i can tell you applicants also undergo multiple and extensive layers of security and counterterrorism review. whether through the administration of u.s. refugee admissions program for the special immigrant visa program, state department makes his first priority the safety of the american people would've the right to expect their government will undertake all available letters to safeguard security. with the department of state are proud of the measures we've taken in recent years to strengthen security including expanded intelligence community participation, measures have made the country safer. in partnership with ths will continue to look for additional ways to increase the state be
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insecurity this important humanitarian programs. this is our obligation to the american people. thank you for the opportunity to testify and i look forward to answering russians. >> thank you, mr. bartlett. ms. strack, the committee now recognizes you for your testimony. >> thank you, mr. chairman and members of the subcommittee. i appreciate the opportunity to testify that the u.s. refugee admissions program in department of homeland security sent oeste feature expectation of that program by terrorist groups. as the chief of refugee affairs division and immigration services that work in close partnership with other components within dhs and colleagues at the department of state or a population refugees and migration. we strive to make the programs to omission of offered resettlement opportunities to eligible refugees of
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safeguarding the integrity of the program and national security. u.s. eis is thought to play a part in the united states long-standing tradition of offering protection, freedom and opportunity to refugees around the world. an integral part of this mission is to ensure of refugee resettlement opportunities go to those truly eligible and do not present a risk to safety or security of the united states. accordingly, we are committed to deter and detect fraud among those seeking to resettle in the united states would've worked hard to develop and implement a security streaming security streaming measures for applicant in close collaboration with fun for us security and intelligence communities. our focus this morning on enhancements first adopted by the u.s. refugee admissions program in connection with large scale processing of iraqi applicant beginning in 2007 and the lessons we've learned since then applied more broadly to other populations. u.s. eis ursula to ensure integrity of the resettlement
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program is as dedicated and well-trained officer corps. the special contrary of officers travels around the world to conduct detailed and person interviews with refugee applicants. they adjudicate cases based on u.s. law permits taken into account knowledge of country conditions and assessment of the applicant's credibility and when necessary comes the categories of cases including national security related cases are referred back to headquarters. this provides another opportunity to conduct additional research and liaise with law enforcement or intelligence agencies before finalizing decisions. in addition to in-person interviews, security checks are an integral part of the u.s. resettlement program. all available biographic of biometric information is vetted against a broad array of blunt force and come intelligence community and other relevant databases to help confirm an applicants identity, to check for criminal or other derogatory information and identify
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information that could inform lines of questioning at the interview itself. what the state department takes away for certain biographic checks, biometric checks court needed by u.s. cif using equipment. these are screened against the fbi's vast biometric holding and also enrolled in dhs's biometric system known as ident. applicant fingerprints are screened battles against watchlist information but also for previous immigration encounters that may be relevant to eligibility. what i've just described is the baseline of security checks conduct it for a refugee applicants before the launch of large scale processing of iraqi applicants in 2007. better to mitigate risk of expectation of offered resettlement opportunities 2000 refugees in need of protection, many of whom had worked closely with the u.s. military or
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coalition forces, developed to key partnerships. first, we establish a relationship with the department of defense to augment our biometric screening by checking against a dod database. it includes fingerprint records captured in theater in iraq and elsewhere so it is a valuable resource to identify a wide array of relevant information or for example, includes data ranging from individuals detained by u.s. forces to those who are unemployed by u.s. forces and much more. in addition we reached out to dhs's office of intelligence and analysis, which recall ina to take advantage of expertise and knowledge of the broader intelligence community. working with ina has enabled us to identify potential screening capabilities to obtain a critical intelligence information and the services in our enhanced officer training. as a result, we've been able to enhance protocols over time for
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both iraqi applicants and other nationalities. for example in the fall to those neighbors launched a new biographic checks for iraqi applicants of the national counterterrorism center to be added for the intelligence community 2010 will be now referred to as interagency checks. we've expanded this protocol to other nationalities over time the iec is not required for all applicants ages 14 to 65. in light of the time, i will conclude my testimony and look forward to answering any questions you may have. ask for the opportunity to testify this morning. >> thank you, ms. strack. i know for the record that you and ms. scalici joined together in preparing written testimony and so your testimony reflects the opening statement for both of you. so i am grateful for your
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preparation for this and for your appearance here today and i now recognize myself for opening questions. let me begin first with the recognition that we've had some 60,000 iraqi refugees resettled in the country since 2007. what comfort can we have that there has been adequate screening recognizing that many of those refugees were allowed into the country during a period of time where there was a response to matters in iraq and less scrutiny given on the front end that may exist today. so, what comfort -- i'm not in the business of asking for guarantees, but i'd like to have you explained how it is we can feel calm and that we don't have
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the situation with 60,000 refugees who were allowed in the country in the last six years. mr. bartlett. >> thank you, mr. chairman. if i could start and then i will defer to my colleague at the department of homeland security. i think i'd like to start by saying obviously the administration commitment to resettle in iraqi refugees is steadfast and conduct in this program in a way that is responsible for humanitarian way as well as the security effort are really our two main issues and tuning responsibilities. the refugee program and refugee screening for iraqis is no different than it is for any other nationality. we conduct a full battery of tests that we have since the beginning of the iraqi resettlement program.
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this test have evolved over time as vulnerabilities they think have been discovered and new intelligence has been put into databases. we continue to look at that population, but frankly it's a tiny population, we want to make sure this is a population that is safe to resettle. >> when you say it's no different than any other, would there be a higher level of scrutiny of those coming from a country in which we know there's a high degree of terroristic dignity in al qaeda activity? >> the screening model is calibrated to some extent by the country of origin, but we also resettle refugees from afghanistan could reschedule from parts of africa with her so-so turmoil. so in fact, what is incumbent upon all of us to do in the interagency and with the intelligence community is to look at the specific, as he said, specific intelligence derived from the situations. i defer to my colleague --
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>> lineages pursue this. alaska to go into these questions, they're telling me there's a generalist approach to humanitarian immigration and i can see somebody from gambia or ethiopia -- but we don't have the same degree of inherent issues. but with those in iraq, afghanistan, jordan, syria, egypt, to have some kind of a method in which there is a specific heightened level of scrutiny for those who are seeking to come into this country? ..
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>> when my colleague talked about using databases, fingerprint databases from iraq, i think that is the discriminating factor. the type of intelligence holdings that we have in our ability to look at those holdings. the second question about what is being done for those people that are derived, i would refer to my dhs colleagues who have been much more involved in that issue. >> either be wants to answer this, it is the implication that somehow there is a level of basic intelligence that exists, which is higher in those
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countries that we have concerns about terrorist activity than in others. is that accurate? to thank you, mr. chairman. i would like to talk about the operational response. and i would invite my colleagues to and more time on this one. i would say operationally that the program onto have heightened scrutiny on iraqi people. when the united states government announced large-scale government of iraqis in 2007, we immediately looked up what should be be doing in light of this reticular population, which was different from the nationality. we have not been settling a great deal. we look at looked at one enhancements we can bring on board that would address this population. that is when we created the
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partnership. we identified additional partnership with the terrorism center, that initially was focused on iraqi applicants. but we learned in doing that that heightened level, which is initially oriented towards iraqi applicants, to be expanded to applicants of all nationalities. we have abused the iraqi program to raise the bar across the board to other nationalities. >> there were some 25,000 figures for a few years that were coming out of iraq. 20,000 per year? >> i believe the high point was 18,000. >> okay, that is still 18,000 per year. did you have the resources and capacity to do some kind of a fairly thorough assessment of each of those 18,000 before they were able to be granted reign.
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>> yes, sir, we did. that is why would like to defer to my colleague who can bring a greater detail. >> thank you. i think it's her to say that in 2007, when the large-scale process with the iraqi refugees began, certainly the security programs that we have in place of the time were very strong, but we have learned a lot since then. we have partners to strengthen the security programs that we have in place. now, as barbara strack indicated, those procedures were initially applied to iraqi refugee applicants. an expanded effort to all refugee applicants, regardless to the country of origin. we believe that the greatly enhanced security vettingallows us to draw upon our experience
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to enhance derogatory information on applicants for the refugee program. at the same time, we recognize the fact that a number of these refugees entered the country before the procedures were put in place by the inner agency. what we have done is to go back and do retroactive checks on those individuals that were earlier admitted to the united states. and any relevant information that comes to life, being shared with relevant intelligence communities or law enforcement agencies as appropriate. one other thing i think i would mention as well, not only do we have analysts who are looking at all the relevant intelligence and data, at the time the applicant originally put for the application, we review it again. not applicant actually enters the united states, in case any information had arisen in the intervening time.
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drawing on more intelligence and data than we ever did before. as well as the recurring checks have greatly enhanced our ability to identify individuals are concerned. >> dawn scalici, thank you so much. i will follow up with some questions. but now i recognize the ranking member or other questions she may have at this time. >> thank you. i think for me, it is simple. in my opening testimony i talked about the iraqi refugees and how there was information available earlier that might have led us to believe that they could cause some trouble in our country. how did we miss that initial information? and could you speak to what are we doing?
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i hear comments about information sharing. and we know that that is key as we move forward. that was one of the lessons that we learned from 9/11. so without divulging any classified information, how did we miss that information the first time around? what can you tell us that will give us some confidence that we really are able to look at all of the data available out there to make responsible decisions as we move forward in this refugee program. >> well, two individuals are of concern that we have been talking about. at the time they made their original application about the refugee program in the united states, the biographic and biometric information that we have available to them were used
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in the screening process. so they did not have any derogatory information on those two individuals that we use as part of the screening when they entered the united states. in fact, the fingerprints came through as well. from the dod,. >> even though the fingerprints were found? >> that is what we have learned in the aftermath. i would have to defer to the fbi for any specific information on that. all of the biographic checks that were performed at the time did come back clean. since that time, as i think we have noted, we have actually enhance the program and the security checks. we now draw upon a greater wealth of intelligence and data holdings on individuals seeking application to the refugee program, which enhances our ability to identify derogatory
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things compared to earlier. >> would anyone like to comment on that? umax okay. so other than the recent iraqi refugee case, have there been many open-source cases through the immigration program who have been associated with terrorism, and is there any evidence of terrorist groups being successful in exploiting this u.s. refugee admissions program or any other program for the specific process of getting entry into the u.s. and committing an act of terrorism? >> in that regard, we are concerned about this we certainly saw that in the case of the two individuals arrested in kentucky. although a point of clarification in that case, we don't actually believe that these two individuals
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deliberately sought to get into the united states. the specific intent of the program of carrying out an attack here. it'd certainly the aftermath of the entry into the united states, giving that continuing desire to support terrorist groups overseas, as well as previous terrorist involvement, coming to light, they were security issues. we look at the potential of the future for terrorist groups to exploit the refugee program. we do have concerns since we have the enhanced security and vetting procedures that we have in place. i will tell you that we have intelligence driven processes regardless of the immigration program, the terrorists may seek to use, we will travel to the united states to review intelligence on a regular basis. sharing that with our partners in developing procedures by which we can help to identify and further screen individuals are concerned.
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again, regardless of the way in which they plan to enter the united states. >> if i may follow up about respect to information sharing. i would like to note that we, in many ways, we are customers of the agencies that hold security and national intelligence information. and it is a tremendously cooperative relationship. we have relationship that will help us make better decisions with refugee cases. and we are also able to share information back. for example, if there is a latent fingerprint that has been identified from some other terrorist related purpose, if the applicant or individual peers is an applicant, in the refugee program, we are able to associate information and a
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location and a photograph of the person. we are able to associate the information in that regard. also, my colleagues at another division of fraud detection and national security, they have played an elaborate program with liaisons with other agencies. so they have officers of the terrorist screening center, along with joint terrorism task force and the national level of state and local. that is a very important program for us to make sure that those agencies have the benefit of the immigration expertise embedded in their unit. and eyes and ears to make sure that we are getting information from those kinds of organizations that are important to us. not just for the refugee program, but across the whole range of immigration benefits that we are responsible for.
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>> i think that we have conflicting reports sometimes on the success of those. but i know on the one where i come from in los angeles, they have been very valuable in helping to provide extremely important information that i believe has afforded him potential attacks. >> we agree. >> i was just thinking that i am a strong supporter of quick and immediate drawdown of our forces in afghanistan. i am one of those that would really like to see that timeline. part of the responsible drawdown includes providing opportunities for the afghan people. are we prepared? what is your prediction as we wind up or down to the number of afghan refugees who may be seeking to come to this country,
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and let us know how your resources are and if you feel like that is going to be a major surge. because the afghan refugees have been smaller in comparison and i would like to hear your production as we go forward, how you think that will play out. >> thank you. that is an interesting question. okay, on the afghan front, the program that we have that parallels the aurora program is a special program. again, that was legislated by congress. for those people who work closely with our forces and our embassy and other contractors. that program is still ongoing. it greatly has been a bi greatlw and is now working. i think we had 235 issue, a
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total of the time of the program, 2117. still fairly small. on the refugee tide, the refugee situation is quite a bit different than the iraqi refugee situation. most refugees of over 20 years house shelter and protection in either pakistan or iran. and in the case of pakistan we have supported the international efforts to help those refugees. most of those refugees are not seeking settlement. they have looked a little over the last three years to see if there are pockets of refugees, especially -- both in pakistan and iran that are in need of element. we have refugees from both countries. we have a very small program outside of iran. taking those people to romania or slovakia where we can process
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everything. we do not project a large increase in this program, but we continued to help you and the neighboring countries that are providing us. to see where individuals might need protection as opposed to large waves of refugees. >> thank you. >> you identify the two-step process. first you want to identify those who are eligible for those in this consideration and those who don't present a risk. explaining how you identify when and how someone is eligible for this process in the first place. >> sure, that is more than the process to identify people for the settlement. frankly, our largest partner is the u.n. commissioner for
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refugees. they worked throughout the world. >> is that an american organization, or an international organization? >> this is an international organization. they operate in countries of refugees as well as countries where refugees are received. >> am i correct to say that we have an international organization that is determining who should be immigrating to the united states of america? >> it would not be exactly correct. what we do is work closely with them in this regard to look at populations that are in need of resettlement. they are located in camps. they are basically at the ground level. there are hundreds of thousands of refugees around the world who don't have a hope to go home anytime soon. >> how do you distinguish between that. i noticed you identify them -- the afghans would have a place of refuge. but we are now looking at jordanians, syrians, nobody
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knows what's going on at this point. how do you determine who may be able to find refuge within their region, as opposed to the united states being the only source of refuge? >> this is certainly a diplomatic and humanitarian effort. what we expect is that countries will provide a silence for refugees as they seek see fit. not all countries are able to provide long-term support. so that is something that we will engage bilaterally wet, in terms of government, also multilaterally with the u.n. and other partners to see. so for example, syrian refugees. syrian refugees have moved into turkey and lebanon. those countries are hosting this refugees, and we are supporting that effort. any refugee, i will say 99% in
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the world, they would like to go home. their first references to go home to their families in their own countries. what we try to do is support the effort to help people. right now in turkey and lebanon and jordan to remain in those places and to have protection and services so that as the situation changes, and hopefully the violence subsides, they can return home. so we are not looking at large numbers of refugees at this moment from syria. but we are looking at to see if there are individuals who, for example, may have concerns in turkey or lebanon. it cannot stay there safely. it is really kind of a two-step process. in an emergency situation, it is about providing assistance. we provide about $200 million worth of assistance and allow them an opportunity to go home as the situation changes.
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as the situation becomes protected as it did with iraqis, countries are sometimes unable to host people for extended periods of time. after five years or six years, then we begin to look at who in a population may be qualified resettlement. >> i interrupted you with regard to how the criteria and eligibility was. is there criteria that you look at in making those determinations as to who is eligible? in a there are. our program prides itself that we have looked largely a vulnerability and we have looked at people who are portable in this country. our program provides a fairly broad range of services. working to help anchor them in the united states and help them gain self-sufficiency. but in terms of looking at
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criteria, again, we look at the vulnerability, their inability to stay in the situation and frankly their inability to go home. as the situation becomes protracted, somalia is a good example, we know that there will be the democratic view that these are two populations of be able to go home soon. we will then look at discrete populations within a large community. to see who is the most vulnerable. often women at risk without a husband, a husband is missing, but with children, they have protection concerns in an urban environment. so we will look at that and work to identify those people. sometimes people with medical conditions that can be treated in the camp, it makes them more vulnerable. so it is kind of a broad array of vulnerabilities that we try to assess the could you identify
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if you were talking about those who are eligible for consideration reign there has been an identification of an emphasis on those who have participated in assisting the united states efforts. either in the military, intelligence, otherwise, governmental organizations that put themselves into some sort of distinction -- what is the distinction between those humanitarian versus those who have performed to the benefit of our interests and are therefore being given some consideration because of the exposure that may result from that service? >> i would say that the program is working in several ways to address those humanitarian concerns and those who worked side-by-side directly by the
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u.s. and the u.s. affiliated organizations. the program that was talked about is actually -- >> could you explain what that stands for? we have seen this before, and i would like to see how that is different from the other programs. >> yes, sir. it stands for special immigrant visa programs. and unlike the refugee programs, it is on whether someone has been persecuted in the past where they have a well-founded persecution in the future. based on a protected category. the nationality, political opinion, and this program, the sid program is really based on service with the united states. congress legislated a program
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special immigrant beaches on transit visas, so that those working for the united states government, initially it was small with the military, but it expanded beyond that to include embassy employees. it is the fact of their service with the united states that makes them eligible. when they come to the united states, both agencies help with a democratic stream. they come as a lawful permanent resident. when they arrived they get a green card. a summer service. now, there are some individuals may be eligible to apply for both programs. they may have with the u.s. embassy or military and are eligible to apply for a sid, but they could be able to articulate a refugee plan. because of that service, they have also faced persecution. so we work on the refugees of the program, but individuals may
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choose which of those two avenues is better for them. >> they do operate on a parallel track. an individual has the opportunity to file for a sid. that will be filed with the state department. in the refugee program, having worked with the united states, one of the criteria that can help you get access to the
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program we want to make sure that we ensure the safety of all people and americans. no one. >> i think that -- i know what the state department we have certainly looked at overall sequestration. i know also that our program the
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program should be able to continue, as we have set in said in the past year, at similar levels. i think the question will be probably what happens in the longer term. not is a good answer at this point. >> the u.s. is in an unusual position, and that most of our programs including the refugee programs are funded by fees. the fees that are paid for immigration benefits is what helps this refugee program. that being said, my understanding is that the interpretation of sequestration will not does the fact appropriated funds, but other ones as well. and that is a complicated issue.
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>> thank you, we know that our republican colleagues will do the right thing. >> i appreciate as well, there are so many aspects to this hearing. i opened by identifying this look into the past. continuing instability as we go into the future, and this creates challenges to our immigration process. those who have already gained interest in the united states. those who we may be looking at
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in the future. individuals who may have resettled here in the united states there are some 300 names of iraqi refugees. mr. bartlett, you and the other panelists -- can you update the committee of the screening process in person with a refugee status is bound to have a relationship to al qaeda, how is that handle? >> i can talk briefly and i will have to turn it over to her colleagues. i can assure you that there is
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close cooperation with all law-enforcement agencies, in particular, the fbi. there are these types of cases, and the department of homeland security will further these information sharing. but i would need time into that with more specificity. >> in that regard, we drop on a host of intelligence. certainly, information is immediately shared with law enforcement agencies for consideration when action is appropriate. i do know that there has been several cases that the fbi has opened as a result of new information that has come to
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light. any specifics on those cases that are still open, or the status of those cases to ma'am, there are 50,000 people we who we know where they are in the united states? >> we know when they arrive. we have arranged with local agencies when they enter the united states, around the country to receive and provide initial support. largely in those initial places. of course, one of the great things about tonight. i am not sure what dhs has in terms of ongoing support.
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>> i am sort of curious about what we know about those 58,000 people who are already here. in the extent to which we engage them or do we go back historically and look at other information that we have from other databases. about what we knew about them prior to the time coming here. those in the military, we got back from intelligence.
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>> in 2007, there was very vigorous vetting. the dod fingerprint checks, they were part of the process. from day one and 2007. as were other quite vigorous biographical checks. although some of those individuals are a subset, they were not subject to the very latest enhancement, in regards to that portion of them for the retroactive check, you want to be clear that the robust vetting was in place from the very beginning in 2007. that being said, inevitably, there are going to be instances where information comes to light after a refugee has been admitted to the united states. we work very closely, whether it is the intelligence community or law enforcement or whether it is our colleagues of immigration
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enforcement, civil immigration enforcement, depending on the information in this circumstance , whether it is an investigation or criminal proceedings, or it other alternatives in some cases, where an individual can be placed in an immigration removal proceedings and removed from the united states. so the solutions will be different. the other thing that i would mention is that refugees are obliged to come forward after one year and apply to just their status to become a lawful and permanent resident. later in their the immigration lifecycle, they may apply for naturalization. those application benefits will also trigger additional vetting of the applicant. so there is some continuous vetting built-in. >> okay, please come absolutely jump in.
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>> they are tracking these refugees when they come here. what do we have of obligation in the year to show up somewhere and reapply. do we know if that happens, what about the ones that don't. we try to reach out to them. if the information does come to life after they are already here, maybe even a couple of years, what is our mechanism to know where these refugees actually have located, and as you said, some duo in this country. are we keeping track of these many thousands of refugees that are here. >> if they don't automatically
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come back and reapply for their green card? what we have in place? >> would've some information does come to light? what that does come to light on the particular person? i we know where that person is located in this country? >> my understanding is that there is not talking of refugees who come to the united states. they have gone to vigorous vetting before they arrive. we do not treat him as a suspect class. however, there are the settlement agencies that larry mentioned. refugees coming to the united states, there is an agency that is invited to welcome them and often keep in touch with them and encourages them to go ahead and apply for adjustment of status. but we do not routinely track people. of course, if someone comes to our attention, law enforcement
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or intelligence, there is more information pertaining to location. >> thank you, i appreciate that. as you can see, and you are right, we shouldn't be treating these people as suspects or criminals. i think the issue is the information if there is any talk going forward of a better way keep track of the refugees. >> do we have a record of individuals who have been denied access? i mean, those who have sought status and by virtue of
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something in their past denied? >> we do maintain refugee applicants. and we include those. whether we see the same identity for the cost of biometrics. [inaudible] >> mr. bartlett, can you explain the criteria or explaining who gets the purity advisory opinion, what individuals, as you are doing, the prescreening, as it seems to bring a higher
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level of scrutiny. can you explain what a security advisory opinion is. >> absolutely. >> we did talk earlier about what information is classified and what is suitable for an open hearing. for the security advisory opinion check,. >> if you are uncomfortable talking about any kind of an issue, you have been conversing with us. i am not against the possibility of entertaining that kind of a question in a different environment. i just believe that we want to create a level of comfort that we are doing things on both
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ends. i would like to discuss it. >> i appreciate that, i will start with a small discussion and move to the comfort level of going perhaps to read in a classified setting. at the outset, every refugee is subject to the lookout check, and there is information that might be in that that could point to the need security advisory. again, holdings for various intelligence intelligence agencies and that would indicate a need to do a rigorous examination through the security advisory. the opinion checks are about what we would need to talk about. it does give us additional information.
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>> we struggle to understand where the predicate knowledge when someone may come from that. they will come in and talk about individuals are in how we determine that they actually have the beliefs were relationships with others that qualify them -- in the first place -- what predicate level of information is pursued about someone come and we have adequate resources to do it to the extent which it is probably necessary. >> let me start and then refer
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to my poly. the process is identified, as i said earlier, we don't apologize for the length of the process because it does allow us to work very closely with partners on the ground. u.n. is one, certainly sometimes with local u.s. embassies. sometimes with ngos. working to identify those who deserve settlements. and then we have nine contractors overseas that are located in regions throughout the world. those who are responsible for collecting additional information on each refugee family in. yet individuals or families, information is collected. that is when we really began a lot of the screening processes. >> how proactive is that?
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when i was appointed in the united states as an attorney, i went back and talk to my eighth-grade classmates and we talk to people that we went to high school with. neighbors lived on my block when i was 10. that was for a secure position of responsibility here in the united states government. i am just sort of curious about the vetting, so to speak, and there would be that kind of inquiry to understand who this person is in the previous community and what we know about them. we look at family tree information, who are they related to, fingerprints down
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the road. at the individual level, it is collected, that is one the process starts. the next point in the process, the department of homeland security comes in and conduct additional interviews face-to-face with u.s. officers. usually located in this. i think i will talk about a little bit more how that vetting process goes and is unfolding. >> as you discuss that process, to the extent, talking about how that is designed to elicit the kind of information that talks about the next logical question in someone's background. >> yes, sir. the information that we have on refugee applicants does vary in certain regards. one is that there are basically three different ways that individuals can access the u.s.
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refugee program. and two of the three, one is the u.n. high commissioner for refugees can in some cases, they have very good registration and they can reverify them. that individual has come forward and has shared a person of persecution and they have had talked about who their children are and family members are. and quite a long record on who that person is. before summoned to the united states even talked about. so when we do the interview, we will have that record in front of us, and we can elicit testimony and see about the things that they are telling us is consistent with the records and the story that they have been telling to the u.n. refugee
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agency over a period of time. that could give us confidence that the information we are listening is true and accurate. in other cases, we may encounter an iraqi applicant who has fled more recently. iraqis tend to have a very great deal of documentation. so when we see an iraqi refugee, we often have a task force. we may have a military in addition to this and they tell told that they work for an american company. in light of the engagement that we had with iraq and afghanistan, do we have any access to the legacy records of that government has? or the afghan government?
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>> we do have access to some information. i'm not familiar with that off the top of my head. we send a very great deal of our time training staff to be eliciting testimony. another point i would like to mention for those who claim that they have previously been affiliated with the united states -- we have found instances where that claim is true. they did have a previous affiliation with the u.s. government or military. we've added those individuals on the lots. we found in some instances that
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individuals may have been fired for cause, or there may have been subsequent derogatory information that the former employer had no idea about. so even in the case where someone has documented prior employment, directly or indirectly with the u.s. government or u.s. affiliated entity, we still go through the full suite of security checks, because we think that is important. >> as we move forward in anticipation -- maybe i shouldn't say anticipation, but the recognition of continuing unrest in countries like syria and jordan, if we anticipate that there may be more demands for the opportunity to be considered as refugees for any purpose to come into our country, are we in possession of
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the capability right now, in light of the fact that with the resources in iraq, we have resources in afghanistan, do we have the resources on the ground to be able to sufficiently identify and do the kinds of backgrounds in a broad variety of countries of people, refugee status of these people, you know, in light of the destabilization. >> perhaps i could start this on the process and i think my colleagues could talk more about this screening effort. certainly in the middle east we have very strong partners. and we have major partners located in jordan. we have major partners located in turkey. from those two main points, we
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do actually have the capability to receive refugees and to take initial screening information, and to move them through the processing system. on the security side, i defer to my dhs colleagues to talk about our ability for that potential. >> the refugee program is determined to presidential determination. after consultation with congress. we know the feeling is there are 75,000 -- there will be interagency conversation in a conversation about next year. we do feel that we have the resources that we need support a program of 70,000 this year. next year, we will keep the resources of all the program
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partners into account. over the last year and a half or two years, with regards for partners in this effort. >> i could add that this is a resource intensive effort that we have in place for checks of all of the refugee applicants. we have worked across the interagency with the intelligence community. we have the resources in place right now. to support the refugee program, it is currently configured and
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exist. but i would have have to defer to them if the program were to differ as being much larger over time. we continue to learn and collaborate well with interagency partners. working hard to try to find ways in which we can automate the process to a greater extent. we currently streamline this process so that over time those that are specifically devoted to the effort, in the efficacy of the program itself. >> i think it is important to note for the record. because we have been asking some probing questions. by virtue of allowing the refugees here, it is important to identify the 3 million or so
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-- 58,000 since the iraqi bolts, so to speak. so the fact that we have identified a small number who have come to the united states and have been investigated and participated in a potential terrorist activity, a closing question for you is that we, on this committee, have never ceased -- i shouldn't say appreciative. but i would say robinson of the extent to which al qaeda and others constantly probe and look for opportunities to exploit our system and introduce acts of
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terror, not just other parts of the country, but principally within the united states of america. to what extent can we go convert al qaeda is not looking at this program is a backdoor way to work with somebody to get them into our country and to plant them -- is this a way around transition with united states of america? >> i would don't agree with you, sir, that certainly uptight affiliates have been trying to identify what they consider to be gaps. we definitely have an intelligence driven process.
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in conjunction with interagency partners, to actively try to identify means by which al qaeda tried to penetrate air defenses. to identify individuals and concerns that require increased training and attention. that is ongoing. certainly we have comfort in terms of the security vetting that we have in place due to refugee programs. we will try to identify these sources of data that will be relevant to the screening processes. our programs such as the refugee programs. >> okay, the other two panelists, do they have any observations before we conclude the hearing?
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>> mr. chairman, i would just like to say that when we launched large-scale processing of the iraqi program in 2007, we recognize the compelling compelling humanitarian need, but at the same time we recognize those trying to take advantage of any immigration program to the united states, whether it is these are programs or refugee programs or student visitor programs. we have really driven over the years to be in the forefront of cooperation and collaboration and national intelligence. we know no program is impervious. we have tried our best to be forward leaning and in the forefront and ready to innovate and learn from our experience. in order to adopt the very best protocols that we can. >> thank you. any closing comments?
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>> i would just like to thank you for the processes we have put in place. and for the recognition that improvements have been made. i would also like to say that the security screening process not only protects the united states but the program and really allows this country to provide ongoing protection to refugees who are in need of that. so we thank you for your interest in okay, let me conclude the hearing with the same observation that i made at the outset. to thank you for the work that you do. a challenging issue in which we balance things to make the place of refuge -- including, welcome at the same time, appreciating the need to fulfill our first responsibility, which is to protect the citizens of the united states against future
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harm. we are on the tip of the spear. i think you for that work that you are doing and the improvements. i would like to ask the panel is that there should be further questioning from the panel here today. we will keep the record open for 10 days in the event that there may be further questions. i ask that you be responsive, and i am very grateful again for your participation today. without objection, the committee stands adjourned. [inaudible conversations] >> tomorrow on "washington journal", your calls and reactions to the shooting in connecticut. followed by a discussion about how safe the defense industry is at a brief court bequest ration.
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talking about across the board cuts. we have several guests. leader advice preparing 2012 federal taxes and new taxes taking effect in 2013. "washington journal." with your calls and tweets and e-mails live at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. >> tomorrow night, watch the farewell speech by senator dick lugar from indiana, and lynn woolsey of california. we will also show you a senate dinner for senator lugar and a tribute to the u.s. house to outgoing california members of congress. ..


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